An absolutely blissful homestay resort in Chikmagalur which lets you live life at the pace of the 1800s with amenities that give luxury hotels a run for their money. We don’t mean to gush, but we really cannot help ourselves when it comes to Villa Urvinkhan (meaning dense forest). Nestled in the Western Ghats amidst 400-odd acres of aromatic coffee, this oasis of luxury combines the best of modernity and old-world charm. The way the house is done up is fantastic — warm, elegant with exquisite antiques on display. Currently, the homestay has 10 rooms and can accommodate 10 couples. But if you are a larger group, or even a few more in the party, then they are happy to allow one more person per room, making the total that can be accommodated 30.
The cottages are cosy, with four-poster single and double beds to take you back in time, but step into the bathrooms and hello vacation! Jacuzzis, loos with views and even an outdoor shower for an intimate (with nature, of course. What were you thinking?) experience. Oh, and each has a private sit out for you to take in the vista.
While you’re welcome to laze around the property, nothing could stop us from jumping into the infinity pool, which overlooks the vast forest and plantation below – our personal backyard! If you head here on a summer trip, then swimming under the stars is a really romantic experience. Trekking (or the lovey-dovey version, a moonlight walk) to is on offer, but what we love are their ATV trails. Perfect for the adventurous traveller, you can really kick up the adrenalin with a whizz through the coffee, silver oaks, peppercorn, on one of these off-roaders, and feel like Lara Croft in Cambodia as we did!
A homestay at heart, you’ll have local cuisine to look forward to. Bringing all guests together at the main house, breakfast is a mix of Continental and South Indian food. But lunch and dinner are what blew us away. Focussing on Malnad cuisine, you can expect rice to take centre stage in various forms. Think Akki Roti, Savige, typical local pulao to be enjoyed with Malnad Chicken Curry, Fried Lamb (called Hurtamansa) and even Pandi Curry, courtesy co-owner Shwetha, who is from Coorg. We don’t need to mention that coffee consumption is a must because once you’re there, and we recommend copious amounts of the fresh brew.